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Obstet Gynecol. 2004 May;103(5 Pt 1):907-12.

Maternal morbidity associated with vaginal versus cesarean delivery.

Author information

1
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Magee-Womens Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA. lburrows@mail.magee.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To describe postpartum maternal morbidity associated with mode of delivery in term, singleton pregnancies.

METHODS:

The Magee Obstetric Medical and Infant database was examined for the years 1995 to 2000. Patients were grouped into 6 types of delivery mode: spontaneous vaginal delivery, operative vaginal delivery, primary cesarean delivery without trial of labor, primary cesarean delivery with trial of labor, repeat cesarean delivery without trial of labor, and repeat cesarean delivery with trial of labor. Multivariable logistic regression provided odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for morbidity by delivery mode adjusted for demographic characteristics and comorbidities. Spontaneous vaginal delivery was used as the referent group (odds ratio = 1).

RESULTS:

Of 32,834 subjects, 27,178 had vaginal delivery (operative = 4,908; spontaneous = 22,270) and 5,656 had cesarean delivery. Third- or fourth-degree lacerations occurred in 1,733 (7.8%) women who had spontaneous vaginal delivery compared with 1,098 (22.3%) who had operative vaginal delivery. Overall, 523 women (1.6%) had endometritis. Compared with spontaneous vaginal delivery, primary cesarean delivery with trial of labor conferred a 21.2-fold increased risk of endometritis (95% CI 15.4, 29.1). Even without trial of labor, women after primary cesarean delivery were 10.3 times more likely to develop endometritis (95% CI 5.9, 17.9) than after spontaneous vaginal delivery. The risk of transfusion was highest in women delivered by primary cesarean after labor, 4.2 times higher (95% CI 1.8, 10.1) than spontaneous vaginal delivery. The risk of pneumonia was 9.3 times higher (95% CI 3.4, 25.6) after repeat cesarean delivery with labor. Deep venous thromboses occurred in 15 (0.1%) after spontaneous vaginal delivery, 2 (0.04%) after operative vaginal delivery, and 12 (0.2%) after cesarean delivery.

CONCLUSION:

Compared with spontaneous vaginal delivery, cesarean delivery is associated with increased risks of endometritis, the need for transfusion, and pneumonia; however, these rates are lower than reported previously.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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